Monday, September 1, 2008


Did I ever tell you that for a large portion of my adult life I was a Costume Designer?

I have designed for ballet, modern dance, opera, performance art and straight theatre but, as odd as this may seem, never once have I designed for musical theatre.

Therefore in today's Musical Monday, I will not be showing you my wide array of work in musical theatre. Instead let's focus on five time Tony Award winner, William Ivey Long.

Most people may be familiar William Ivey Long’s very racy net bodysuit from the musical Nine.

Others may know the bright lollipop colours and the campy costumes from the stage musical version of Hairspray.”

For me, costume design at its pinnacle of brilliance was reached with William Ivey Long’s designs for the 1996 revival of Chicago: The Musical. The simplicity of the Velma Kelly donning short hair and an even shorter black skirt will remain an iconic image for a long time to come.

Rarely do we see a costume that tells the character’s true story before the actor even opens their mouths. The simplicity of the design then allows it to take a step a back and give the actor the spotlight to tell Velma’s carefully created version of the story. Almost as if in the spirit of Chicago, the costume makes the grand entrance and then says “And now here’s Velma!”

This juxtaposition between “the truth” and “the image” captures the moral of the character and of the story therefore sealing William Ivey Long’s fate as my costuming idol.

What costumes have stuck out in your mind as fantastic?

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